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Reading City Hall (Reading High School)

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Reading High School
1904, Davis and Davis; 1928, Alexander Forbes Smith. Washington and N. 8th sts.

Like Philadelphia and other industrial cities, twentieth-century Reading created a two-tier educational system with a separate high school for the academic elite to distinguish them from the masses who were being prepared for factory work. The elite school was given the trappings of classicism, here overlaid in rich profusion by a Philadelphia firm that specialized in industrial-scale schools. In 1928, when a new coed high school was constructed, the city commissioned local architect Smith to adapt the boys’ school to replace its antiquated Civil War–era City Hall. The Beaux-Arts facade was well suited to its civic purpose and the interior was modified with handsome wood paneling. The leaded glass windows in the council chambers depicting Berks County history are the work of Paul Kase of the local J. M. Kase Glass Company.

Writing Credits

Author: 
George E. Thomas

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